Billionaire Elon Musk is a laser-focused boss who rarely socialized with his staffers and fired those who didn’t fall into line with his strategies, according to a former Tesla employee.
Carl Medlock, a former territory manager at Tesla, detailed his experience working with Musk and his time working for the electric vehicle company during the Aug. 7 episode of “The Iced Coffee Hour” podcast.
“You don’t argue with him,” Medlock said. “When Elon stands up at the end of a meeting and says, ‘this is the direction we’re going to go,’ you stand up from your chair and you better head that direction. Because he’s not one for people back-talking — he’ll just let you go.”
Medlock first joined Tesla in 2009 in the midst of the Great Recession after being recruited via LinkedIn and said he was offered “a lot of perks,” including a six-figure salary and 40,000 stock options that he was later forced to sell during divorce proceedings.
The former territory manager said Musk was one of a handful of people who interviewed him for the job. During the interview process, Musk quizzed Medlock, a longtime car salesman and technician, about his customer service record and other real-world experiences.
“He’s actually a really good guy,” he added. “He’s incredibly smart, so he’s intimidating in that regard, but if you look at it based on his kids. The guy loves his kids, he loves his family, he’s a good dad and he’s just easy to talk to. We just had a conversation and I got the job.”
Medlock said that Musk “wasn’t social at all” in the workplace and would rarely interact with his subordinates unless he needed to address a pressing issue. He added that Musk was “very disciplined” in his approach to managing Tesla during its early days.
The ex-Tesla employee also confirmed Musk’s widely reported penchant to sleep in the office rather than head home.
“I actually saw him sleep on a desk once. I deleted the photo,” Medlock said. “I should have kept the photo, but I deleted the photo out of respect. “I took the picture and thought, ‘Oh my god, you’re going to get fired for this.’”
Medlock also praised Musk’s ability to assess and hire talent – though he noted that workers who fell out of the billionaire’s good graces are promptly shown the exit.
“If Elon’s micromanaging you, you’re probably on your way out, ‘cause he hires good people and lets them do their thing. He’s smart, but he also knows how to hire smart people,” Medlock said.
Insider was first to report on Medlock’s comments. The Post has reached out to Tesla for comment.
Musk became Tesla’s largest shareholder in 2004 and has served as its CEO since 2008. The company has a market capitalization of $940 billion and is the world’s most valuable automaker.